10 Ways to Manage Anxiety and Survive the HSC
Students are under enormous pressure during the HSC to achieve good marks and make their families proud. It’s not surprising that anxiety levels soar over this time.
While anxiety is a normal response to the HSC, there are many things students can do to limit the impact of this negative emotion.
Keep sight of the bigger picture
When you’ve been living and breathing the HSC for two years, it can seem like your entire future hinges upon your results. While the HSC is obviously important, don’t forget there are other pathways to the course or career you want.
Look after yourself
Staying healthy is one of the most effective ways to combat stress. This means eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep. Don’t ignore signs such as digestive issues, rashes and trouble concentrating which might mean you’re pushing yourself too hard.
When you’re organised, everything seems easier so make the effort to clean up your study area and file your notes neatly. This will give you an instant boost. Creating a study schedule is another great way to combat stress.
Go for a walk
Walking is a cheap and easy way to tackle anxiety. When you’re starting to feel stressed or down, put on your walking shoes and go for a stroll around the neighbourhood. The fresh air will help clear your head and energise you.
Talk about it
The simple act of talking to someone about how you’re feeling can help you manage stress. It’s a great idea to chat with someone a year or two older who has completed the HSC as this will help you keep things in perspective.
When you’re stressed and anxious, it’s easy to catastrophise by imagining the worst outcomes possible, creating a vicious cycle of worry and doubt. To break this cycle, be mindful of your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Relax and have fun
Studying when you’re exhausted and anxious is counterproductive as you won’t absorb information. When you’re feeling overburdened, the best thing you can do is relax and have fun. Anything that takes your mind off the books will help you refresh.
Mix up your study techniques
When you keep things interesting, you’ll be less likely to become stressed. Mix up your study sessions by recording yourself reading notes, creating visual aids and composing rhymes and songs to help you remember. Studying with others is another way to stave off boredom and anxiety.
Do practice papers
Having to complete questions within a limited timeframe is highly stressful, and it’s not surprising that many students experience acute anxiety and even panic attacks during exams. Completing practice exams is an ideal way to prepare for the HSC as you will become accustomed to the style and format of papers and work out how much time to allocate to each question.
Seek professional help
When stress and anxiety become overwhelming and nothing seems to help, it might be time to seek professional help. A trained counsellor can help you understand why you’re feeling this way and give you techniques to beat anxiety.